A hearing relating to a cancellation request of the procedure known as that of the Disappeared of Beach, Brazzaville will be held Thursday 3 July before the Investigatory Chamber of the Paris Appeal Court. On the eve of the hearing, our organisations recall that the French judiciary provides the only opportunity for the victims to finally get justice
The cancellation request was introduced by the defence of Norbert Dabira, referring to the fact that M. Sabira, former Army Inspector-General of the Republic of the Congo, was acquitted in Brazzaville in August 2005 of the charges against him in France and that he could not be trialled twice for the same case. A similar request had already been addressed by the defence of Norbert Nadira twice before, in 2007 before the Court of Cassation and in 2010 before the Paris investigating judge, and had been rejected both times.
« The trial which was held in Brazzaville was a show-trial which ended by an acquittal of all, aiming solely at consacring the impunity of the perpetrators of the massacre. It is a scandal that Norbert Dabira’s defence uses again this trial to ask for the cancellation of the judiciary proceeding in France » declared Patrick Baudouin, lawyers and honorary FIDH President.
« The French justice remains today the only hopeof justice for the victims and the relatives of the dissappeared, who never managed to obtain justice in their country » declared Trésor Nzila, OCDH executive director. « This is the reason why we hope that this cancellation request will be rejected ».
« It’s about time for the French judiciary to respond thoroughly and effectively to the need for justice of the victims in this case » declared Michel Tubiana, Honorary President of the LDH. « The investigation of Norbert Dabira in August 2013 was an important step ».
The Disappeared of Beach, Brazzaville case has been open since 2001 before the french judiciary, date on which FIDH, LDH and OCDH had filed a complaint aiming at establishing the legal individual responsabilities in the disappearance of more than 350 persons during the first weeks of May 1999 at the waterway port of Beach, Brazzaville. This complaint had led to the opening of a judicial investigation in France, in February 2002, in application of the principle of universal jurisdiction of national jurisdictions, for crimes against humanity, forced dissapearances and acts of torture. Approximately 80 rescued victims or victims’ relatives take part to the proceeding as civil parties.
In 2012, the instruction had been repatriated within the pole specialised in crimes against humaniy, crimes of genocide, war crimes and torture, newly created within the Paris High Court.
Between 5 and 14 May 1999, Congolese (from Congo-Brazzaville) refugees because of the civil war in the Pool region or in the Democratic Republic of the Congo returned to Brazzaville by the waterway port, following the signature of a tripartite agreement between DRC, the Republic of Congo, and the High Commissioner for Refugees, defining a humanitarian corridor meant to guarantee their security. At their arrival to Brazzaville, hundreds of persons were arrested by public officials to be interrogated and dissapeared, without anyone knowing what happened to them, even today.
For more information on these events and on the past and current judicial proceedings, please look at the summary of the case drafted by FIDH (